If you’re into making your own food then chances are, you’ve heard of the Instant Pot. Designed with convenience in mind, it boasts a number of different functions, all of which can be used to prepare different types of ingredients; not only is it capable of functioning as a pressure cooker, but it can also steam, sauté, make yogurt, and more. A handy 7-in-1, it is extremely efficient at preparing foods- despite the fact that it uses less energy, it is able to cook ingredients approximately 70% faster than traditional methods. Taking all of that into consideration, it’s no wonder why its popularity has surged in the past couple of years.
The History of the Instant Pot
Founded in 2009, the Instant Pot Company was put together by a team of Canadians, who were interested in exploring different methods of food preparation. Ultimately, they had one goal- to find a way to allow busy families to prepare quality food in less time.
Over the next eighteen months, they busied themselves with research, and development. Finally in late 2010, they introduced the first Instant Pot Programmable Cooker. Complete with a technologically advanced micro professor, it incorporated the functions of five different kitchen appliances into one; these include the warmer, steamer, slow cooker, pressure cooker, and rice cookers.
Incredibly successful, the team has since continued to develop different versions of the original model, to meet the growing needs of their audience.
The Different Models of the Instant Pot
Currently, there are three main models for the Instant Pot- the Duo, Lux, and Smart. We’ve laid out some of their differences below:
The Duo: The most popular, as it contains all 7 functions (Rice Cooker, Food Warmer, Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Steamer)
The Lux: Exactly the same as The Duo, except for the fact that it is incapable of making yogurt
The Smart: Exactly the same as the Duo, with additional “smart” capabilities such as bluetooth connectivity
In addition to those three, there are also a few newer models such as the Ultra, which features an entirely new interface, with a “custom mode.” Adding to that, there’s also the Duo Plus, which is a “newer version” of their most popular model, the Duo. Compared to the regular Duo, the Plus boasts a “sterilize” function.
What is a Pressure Cooker?
Now that we know what an Instant Pot is, let’s go over what a power cooker is. Essentially, it’s an electric pressure cooker. That is, it uses different pressure settings to cook homemade meals in a fraction of time, compared to stovetop cooking. Speaking of which, most pressure cookers come with two different pressure settings- high and low (some models may even have a medium setting). Depending on the type of food that you’ll be preparing, you’ll want to select the the proper option.
Invented in the 1600’s, the pressure cooker was originally put together by Denis Papin, a Frenchman who was interested in applying new discoveries about steam and pressure into cooking. The way that it worked was simple; it relied on steam pressure. That is, when a sealed pot contains a large amount of steam inside, high pressure will be built up, which can then be used to hasten the rate of cooking.
The Power Pressure Cooker
The Power Pressure Cooker is a popular brand of electric pressure cookers. Available in two sizes- 6 quart and 8 quart, it is capable of preparing a number of different ingredients from frozen foods to eggs. For more information, you can visit their official website at http://www.powerpressurecooker.com/.
How Does a Power Cooker Work?
Today, all pressure cookers come with a valve, that can be used to control the inner pressure. Thus, by changing the valve, one is able to control the pressure, for proper cooking of the inside ingredients.
Ultimately, high pressure has two main effects on cooking:
1.) The way it works, the higher the pressure in the pot, the more liquid is forced into the food. As this happens, the cooking process occurs quicker; in some particular foods, such as meat, the extra moisture from the liquid can also be tenderizing.
2.) With higher pressure, the boiling point of the water is also increased. Normally, when we’re cooking, water boils at a temperature of 212F. When the inner pressure is high however, this can go up to 250F. The higher the boiling point, the faster the food will cook.
What Can You Make with a Power Cooker?
The wonderful thing about pressure cooking is that it is extremely versatile. With a power cooker, you can pretty much cook anything in less than an hour. Some popular food items include roasts, braised meats, eggs, and stews.
What’s the Difference Between an Instant Pot and a Power Cooker?
As mentioned earlier on this page, the Instant Pot is a multi-purpose cooker; that is, it boasts a variety of different functions. When we consider that, it’s easy to see how the Instant Pot compares to a power cooker- that is, functioning as a power cooker is one of its many functions. Remember, the 7-in-1 appliance is essentially a pressure cooker, with many additional added functions.
Naturally, they are also two different brands. While the Instant Pot is designed to be a multi-purpose electric cooker, the Power Cooker is designed specifically for the purpose of pressure cooking.
Should I Buy an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker?
Should you purchase an Instant Pot or a Pressure Cooker? In the end, this depends on what you’re trying to make. As we’ve explained previously, the former is designed to be a multi-purpose 7-in-1, while the latter is strictly capable of pressure cooking. If you’re on the fence about the two products, think of it this way- will you be using the many other functions that the Instant Pot has to offer? If not, you can probably just go with a pressure cooker. If, however, you want a variety of different functions at your disposal, the Instant Pot is a safe bet.
A few questions to ask yourself when deciding on an Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker:
– Am I interested solely in pressure cooking?
– Do I want to replace some of my existing kitchen appliances with an all-in-on product? (A good option if you’re looking to clear some counter space)
– Am I interested in making yogurt? (The Instant Pot has the function to make yogurt)
In the end, it all boils down to preference. Either way, both the Instant Pot and the Power/Pressure Cooker are extremely convenient to have in the kitchen. Who wouldn’t want to prepare delicious, healthy food in a short amount of time? If you’re worried about safety, don’t be- both cookers come complete with multiple safety functions.